Department of Religious Studies

James Henriques


Magic and divination | Roman Archaeology | Etruscan Religion | The Roman Near East | Mystery Cults and Syncretism | Comparative Mythology | Pagan Holy Men | Esotericism | Early Christianity and "Gnosticism."


James Henriques is a sixth-year PhD student in the Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean program, focusing primarily on Greco-Roman religions. Prior to joining the Religious Studies department at UT Austin, James attended the University of Georga, where he received his BA in Classical Archaeology in 2005, followed by his MA in Religious Studies from the same institution in 2007. He acquired a second MA in Classical Archaeology from Florida State University in 2011.

James' primary research interest is the debate between Greco-Roman "pagans" and Christians regarding the categorization of various rituals and other practices as "magic" or "miracle."

James is also a staff member of the archaeological excavations at Cosa, an ancient Roman colony located roughly 90 miles northwest of Rome in modern Ansedonia.

When not doing school work, James enjoys playing music. He has played guitar and banjo for twenty years, and is always eager to learn new instruments.


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

43230 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GAR 0.128
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)

Course Description:

Nowhere in the book of Genesis does the narrator refer to the infamous serpent in the Garden of Eden as “Satan,” or “the devil.” Despite this, many readers of the Bible conflate the serpent with the prince of darkness. Why? How did this identification develop? And in what ways has this interpretation shaped human history? These and similar questions are the basis of this class. During the course of this semester, we will examine some of the most significant narratives of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament), and the New Testament and the ways particular interpretations of these stories and teachings have affected history. This examination will occur on two levels of historic inquiry: on the one hand, we will examine the historic and cultural contexts in which these books were composed, while on the other hand, we will explore the ways later readers have interpreted these books, and the historic ramifications of such interpretations. This survey will not only cover some of the interpretations of theologians or religious authors from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, but will also survey the works of ancient and modern philosophers, famous authors, and various other products of modern popular culture.

Course Requirements:

1) Participation/Attendance (10%)

2) Short Literary Analysis Essays (40%; 4 total = 10% each)

3) Movie Analysis (20%)

4) Research Project (30% total)

a) Research Proposal and Annotated Partial Bibliography (5%)

b) Rough Draft (5%)

c) Peer Review (5%)

d) Final Paper (15%)

Required Texts:

The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Fully Revised Fifth Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). [Referred to in reading assignments as NOAB]

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